Changing of the guard: Meet Grammar’s new headmaster
Character, confidence and self-worth are the three core principles Toowoomba Grammar’s new headmaster, Dr John Kinniburgh aims to instil in each of the school’s 1,177 students.
Dr Kinniburgh is the 16th headmaster to lead the all boys’ school and said he is looking forward to establishing close connections with the Darling Downs community as well as the more regional and remote places his students hail from.
Raised in the northeastern New South Wales town of Gunnedah, Dr Kinniburgh said his regional upbringing provided him with a strong foundation and work ethic.
“Growing up in regional NSW taught me the importance of family and shared community values, and it is clear to me these same values flow strongly through Toowoomba Grammar School,” said Dr Kinniburgh.
“My goal for the year is to meet as many members of the Toowoomba Grammar family as I can and learn what makes our school tick.”
A proud believer in the importance of both academics and extracurriculars, Dr Kinniburgh was involved in various sports and activities throughout his early years and has completed an array of study, both in Australia and abroad.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Sydney University, he was offered a role as a geography teacher at The King’s School in Sydney in 1996.
Two years later, Dr Kinniburgh received a scholarship to study at Oxford University in England where he completed a Master of Science degree in Environmental Change Management before returning to The King’s School for the next 12 years.
The Kinniburgh family then moved to the UK where Dr Kinniburgh taught at Wellington College, one of the world’s leading independent coeducational boarding schools, initially as Head of Geography and then as Assistant Head of Teaching Schools.
Dr Kinniburgh’s qualifications also include a PhD in Education from Macquarie University and a Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of New England.
Moving to the Darling Downs from Adelaide, Dr Kinniburgh was previously the Head of Secondary School and Deputy Headmaster at Prince Alfred College, with his tree change to Toowoomba shared by his wife Joanne and three children, Charlie, Eliza and Archie.
Dr Kinniburgh said both his sons eagerly attended their first day at Toowoomba Grammar this week.
“They absolutely love the school so far and are both very excited for all of the extracurriculars and sports on offer,” he said.
“I’m very passionate about well-rounded education and the development of character and self-worth and preparing boys for the contribution they can make to society throughout their lives.
“I don’t believe there is a stock standard way to educate every student, I believe each Grammar boy is on his own journey in life and as a school it’s our job to mentor and support his growth to enable him to achieve his personal best.
“Success is not just measured by grades, but by the willingness of our boys to put effort into their learning, to influence others and make a positive contribution in the community, now and into the future.”
Dr Kinniburgh has taken over the role from Peter Hauser who retired after serving 18 years as headmaster.
Mr Hauser is now working on researching and writing about the school’s history to compile a new book for Toowoomba Grammar School’s 150th anniversary in 2025.
Originally published as Changing of the guard: Meet Grammar’s new headmaster